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In a socially distanced world, cloud-enabled experiences close the gaps

The public cloud, which facilitates business agility in good times and bad, has become a critical enabler for resilience and innovation during disruptions of all kinds.

Faster time to market, lower costs and closer connections with partners and customers – the cloud brings benefits to businesses of all sizes, in good times and bad. But in a period of extreme disruption, its ability to enable effective remote working and collaboration among multiple stakeholders has become a vital tool in keeping many firms operational.

In fact, an analysis by the International Data Corporation indicates that those firms that have already embraced digital transformation and the cloud have generally coped better with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But all clouds are not equal; though on-premise and private cloud IT models can be effective in specific situations, a growing number of organizations have recognized the flexibility, innovation and cost-effectiveness of public cloud-based solutions. Global research organization Gartner, for example, predicts spending on public cloud services will grow more than 6% in 2020 – while other IT investment founders.

Cost and collaboration benefits of the cloud

Amid the economic turmoil, one of the most attractive aspects of implementing public-cloud IT systems is that they are created and maintained by outside companies. “[Firms have to spend] significantly less cash upfront than [they do] scaling up on-premise data-center capacity or acquiring traditional licensed software,” said Sid Nag, Gartner research vice president.

Public-cloud solutions also make it easier for home-based teams, and different companies in a supply chain, to share data and work together via cloud-based platforms. They also encourage new stakeholders by lowering the barriers to entry as they don’t have to invest in costly new capital equipment.

This ability to give every stakeholder access to the information they need encourages stronger collaboration throughout the product lifecycle – including design and manufacturing methods. At a time when firms’ and customers’ resources and requirements are very changeable, working together like this can save time and money.

A driving force for innovation

Companies that can store and tap into huge amounts of data on the public cloud find it easier to rethink their business models and create the pioneering products and services that will benefit them long after the pandemic has passed.

SpotAngels’ cloud-based parking app, for example, connects to cars and other devices to help drivers find available parking spaces, then sends them alerts to avoid fines. “The cloud is essential to what we do,” Aboud Jardaneh, co-founder of the US firm, which operates in some 30 cities, said in an interview with Compass magazine. “But the real game-changer is how it has been embraced by more traditional players to host data from a growing range of connected devices.”

Indeed, the public cloud will be central to supporting the rise of the Internet of Things and new business models that will spring from it. Many companies have launched or plan to launch innovations that would have been impossible without the security and consistency delivered by public cloud providers. The massive investments cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure have made in building a secure, enterprise-ready public cloud means that businesses both big and small can benefit from a layer of protection they would unlikely be able to afford on their own.

As industry after industry has been disrupted by cloud-based business models, more enterprises have come to view cloud as a business essential. The bottom line is that every company must think seriously about its cloud strategy – or risk falling behind its competitors. The question is no longer whether a company will turn to the cloud, but how quickly they will do so.

For more information on how the cloud can help established firms gain the agility enjoyed by startups, click here

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